Introducing the Sea Shadow

Introducing the Sea Shadow

As I mentioned with the previous post, this was a fun project.  Based on my evergreen Overseas Gen 1; perhaps the first DLC'd Vacheron Constantin as well?  What drove the idea was a need to create something less conspicuous for backcountry and Third World travel.  Rather than leave my trusty friend at home, why not make it more stealthy.  Hence the nickname Sea Shadow, which refers to the first generation stealth ship of the US Navy which coincidentally was developed around the same time as the OS.

Introducing the Sea Shadow

DLC, or Diamond-Like Coating, is a form of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coating that represents the best technology today; similar to how synthetic diamonds are manufactured!  Initially used to harden drill bits and other high-wear tools and engine parts, it found its way into jewellery and watches.  The benefits are most apparent in high-stress environments; increased surface hardness, decreased friction, chemically and biologically inert, and wear resistant by a factor of 5X over stainless steel.

Introducing the Sea Shadow 

Enough technical talk!  Here are some pictures "in the wild" of the Rocky Mountains this past week...

Introducing the Sea Shadow

Introducing the Sea Shadow
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12/10/2011 - 02:47
That is really and I mean REALLY cool!! How long did it take?
12/04/2011 - 21:48
Congrats on a great project, wouldn't have thought this of you, ifs so modern;-)
LOL, its the only one
12/05/2011 - 03:24
without the ""&" in my inventory!  The actual coating process was done within a week.
An amazing....and unexpected creation congrats Dean
12/04/2011 - 22:18
Thanks man
12/05/2011 - 03:41
I can't seem to take it off lately cool
I like what you've done, but
12/04/2011 - 22:58

Could you have left your toes out of the shot? G           

Sorry Gary
12/05/2011 - 03:25

Can't help it...I have big feet wink

look at the bright side Gary, at least nothing else was
12/05/2011 - 14:38
sticking out blush
Guys, please let's go no further on this topic...
12/05/2011 - 14:50
...I'm going to have nightmares... ;-)
You mean, like his
12/05/2011 - 16:58
Rubber Ducky?
12/05/2011 - 17:36
I'm amused by the break in the bubbles....
12/05/2011 - 20:51
where I see that you have engraved the moonphase from the EP Malte Chronograph Perpetual into your bathtub!  :-) Congrats on your customized Overseas. I really like the look, but would never have the nerve to do that on a watch of mine. Best, Bill
Re: I'm amused by the break in the bubbles....
12/06/2011 - 00:00
Oh dear, maybe a little gas... Bill, we each have our own level of risk-taking but I usually begin a project with the question; "why not" ?  I'm surprised it hasn't been done before, yet I cannot find any examples!
That was a surprise
12/05/2011 - 01:39
It looks really cool, but can you tell us more? Did VC do it for you? What if you wanted to reverse the DLC in the future? It must be the first ever black VC. Best, respo
Re: That was a surprise
12/05/2011 - 03:30
This was a made-in Canada project yes.  The process is reversable.  It takes 5 hours in a plasma chamber to deposit the amorphous diamond coating, and two days to remove it!
That is so's HOT!
12/05/2011 - 02:18
Congrats Dean on specializing your very own OS! I see the military style (black dial with arabic #s) out of Europe a lot.  Cool creation that must have taken a lot of time, consideration, effort and  patience. Well Done!  BR, Dan
You said it!
12/05/2011 - 03:39
"Time, consideration, effort and patience"; that was the formula laugh.  While the actual coating only took a week, there was lots of planning as I used an industrial service that had limited experience with jewellery.  A watchmaker assisted with disassembly and lots of time was spent just worrying how it would turn out.  Must say, I'm more than pleased...the color is a nice deep black which works well with the many smooth and brushed surfaces of the OS.  The military dial luminescence is outstanding too. Next Sea Shadow project is a rubber strap...
what a name and what a watch ....
12/05/2011 - 09:16

i have always like stealth watches. out of curiousity , did it cross your mind to coat in in the matt black pvd? is the shinier counterpart more scratch resistant ? anyway, the asethetics is a good match for this overseas especially your shot in the cold mountain. amazingly, the dial and the metal is a good match . you have good taste for the makeover. congrats and wear in good health. what a wonderful 2000th posts !

Yes indeed Aaron
12/05/2011 - 17:42
The type of surface treatment affects how the final look will turn out when you apply a PVD or DLC coating.  To be successful with an overall matt look, the stainless steel would have to have been bead blasted to remove the polished and brushed finishes.  I did consider that but after studying many other DLC'd watches, came to favor using the contrasting textures as provided from the factory.  It does tend to shift the look from military to dressy...
i figured the same ...
12/05/2011 - 18:19
in order to retain the brushed and polished texture for the watch, you'll have to select your finish and probably with the flexibility of reversing it. anyway, wise choice.
Perfect Combination!
12/05/2011 - 14:08
Love the way the dial and newly DLCed case go together.  Really brilliant.
That was a concern
12/05/2011 - 17:47
Some DLC is more graphite/grey in color, which would have been a bad match for the black dial.  And, as mentioned to Aaron, a matt surface would have presented a different look that may not have complimented the glossy dial.  As it is, the polished bezel stands out very nicely against the brushed case for a nice subtle effect yes
12/05/2011 - 15:00

Dean, This is for me the best surprise of the year - the watch looks awesome!!!!yesyesyesyesyes It is amazing how much a bit of DLC can change the look of a watchcheeky. This treatment makes the bracelet looks much nicer in my opinion. And from the looks of it it seems that the brushed/ polished finishing effect remains visible... I'm so proud of you, I would not have expected this from our Vintage Expertyes. Apart from the two digits sticking out of the water and the subsequent comments, I would rate this as one of the best posts of the yearwink  Makes me think that a QdI with dark saphire dial and DLC finishing could look pretty cool as well... Much props for the name as well - please make sure to bring the Sea Shadow at SIHH, I would loooove to see it in the metal... Cheers, Francois  

Re: Revolutionary!
12/05/2011 - 17:58
I'm glad you are considering other possibilites for DLC Francois cheeky.  We customize our watches mildly with straps and bracelets but this is a bit more intense.  Automobiles (well, mine anyway) are customized right down to the color of paint and components in the engine; nothing new or radical there. Regarding the bracelet, those familiar with the Gen 1 know it can kink easily and be a bugger to straighten out again.  The DLC coating is tremendously "slick" and I've found any kinks just shake out.
you got balls, Dean!
12/05/2011 - 21:09
at least they don't show in the tub picture...indecision it's a fun project you undertook and the result is quite stunning. better than Ti/SS new model version. Congrats on a new piecewink
Thank goodness
12/05/2011 - 23:55
Although Bill sees a moon! surprise
Maybe Bill is looking at this from a different angle? nt
12/06/2011 - 00:42
Re: Maybe Bill is looking at this from a different angle? nt
12/06/2011 - 16:40
Am very impressed Dean!!
12/06/2011 - 02:17
Your creativity is at true heights here. Think that our watch manufacturers should take some time to investigate such a model with 5X protection over stainless steel. Best wishes and congratulations.  Matt
A caveat
12/06/2011 - 03:26
While the surface is indeed harder than the underlying stainless steel, it is still possible to strike the case hard enough (or with a sharp-enough implement) to break through the coating.  Once that happens, the only solution is to remove the finish entirely from the affected part, repair the damage, and reapply the DLC.  Could be tedious sad but I've never done such damage to a normal watch and don't intend to start now!   DLC is clearly superior over PVD though; I've been told by owners that the latter treatment would often chip off when subject to a severe impact.
Very creative!
12/06/2011 - 11:36
Congratulations on the new look. I am really impressed not only at outcome but also at all the work that must have gone into your project.  I am glad it came out as you expected, if not better. Now I really miss my Overseas (chronograph version of your watch) which is now in the spa. It would be nice to know how people react to the watch. All the best. Kazumidevil
This was the nervous part...
12/06/2011 - 16:39
Waiting to see how it would all go back together surprise
LOL (nt)
12/07/2011 - 05:13
Very impressive project
12/06/2011 - 13:47
As I  do not know the OS very well: did you have to modify the dial as well ? Congrats,
Yes Berny
12/06/2011 - 16:36
Before: and after:
Nothing like a face lift and a tan to make you
12/06/2011 - 17:23
feel like a young buck. Nice work Dean, very proud of your work! That is quite a black pearl you've got now, enjoy every minute. Best, Tim
LOL, good analogy Tim
12/07/2011 - 22:05
Although I wouldn't recommend the DLC treatment for a current model watch under warranty or even a non-current model still under a service warranty.  However, for a non-current model without warranty its fair game IMO.
And a real beauty, nice work. (nt)
12/08/2011 - 00:03
Re: Introducing the Sea Shadow
12/06/2011 - 23:06
Very cool - a nice combination of flashy and understated
Re: Re: Introducing the Sea Shadow
12/07/2011 - 16:15
Yes it is a very nice "Military" watch now but not a VC any more.
I see your point
12/07/2011 - 17:34
And these aren't Audis or Mercedes or Porsches any more with all those gaudy add-ons... Nor is this a Frank Lloyd Wright anymore since they've painted the bathrooms... But I'm not sure - is this still a VC?
Dean blows the disguise and faces up to it!....
12/07/2011 - 22:35
A full ten marks for innovation. A practical solution for a 'travelling man' yes Actually, it's good to be back on the HL following a few health problems. Always a pleasure to read your contributions, Dean! Tony
Welcome back...
12/07/2011 - 22:49
...I hope you are well.
Thank you for the kind thoughts.....
12/08/2011 - 14:14
Thank you for the few kind words, Berny.  I'm on the mend thankfully and it's great to be back on board with friendsyes Kind regards Tony
Wonderful to have you back Tony
12/07/2011 - 23:50
I'm sure you were never far away in spirit smiley.  Please take care of yourself!
You're quite right, Dean!
12/08/2011 - 14:23

Your kind words and good wishes are a tonic and much appreciated. It's lovely to be back. Good wishes Tony

Tony Emilie says she's happy you're back :-)
12/08/2011 - 11:05
Emilie you have added a ray of sunshine to my life....
12/08/2011 - 14:29

I have missed you too! heart With all good wishes Tony xx

That is so cool! How did you make the dial into black?
12/08/2011 - 09:29
I am beginning to itch for one crying This is a definite keeper!
Extremely cool, Dean!
12/10/2011 - 02:47
Love it!  Raises the ante on my "Deep Stream" OS on bracelet, for sure. Takes some confidence to modify (even cosmetically) one's Vacheron, no?  Well done! Best, Gary